A Note on Ian Bruce MP

E-mail dated the 11th October 1999, 4:41pm,
from Ian Bruce MP [BRUCEI@parliament.uk] to Sean Gabb:

Dear Mr Gabb

I hope you are very rich. Would you please let me both have a note of your postal address and where you would like me to serve court papers on you.

You should of course take legal advice but I must insist that you immediately write to everyone you have e-mailed (or who has had any access to your list) making clear that by your definition I am a Euro Sceptic and that you apologise for inferring that I have been lying to my constituents and to everyone else who has ever heard me speak on this subject.

I note that you have felt it helpful to send a list of all Conservative candidates to every MP including the Labour and Liberals and to have misrepresented the views of a massive number of us. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The Euro Realist cause has been beset by fools and knaves but you really are in a category of your own. Incidentally Dorset to my certain knowledge has by your definition of your "sceptic"  seven sceptics to one "Europhile". Your list puts the position as 4 to 4.

It surely occurs to the dimest [sic] of people that the parliamentary party has less than 20 Europhiles and your list provides the most spectacular own goal imaginable.

Ian Bruce MP

E-mail of reply dated the 12th October, 13:58pm,
Sean Gabb to Ian Bruce MP:
Dear Mr Bruce,

I have received your e-mail dated the 11th October 1999.  I have reviewed my file on your stated opinions, and accept that you should not have been classified as a Europhile.

This being said, I have yet found no evidence that you fall into the sceptic category.  I note that on the 20th March 1996, the Daily Telegraph reports you as having made a witty and possibly sceptic comment about a European Court ruling on working hours.  But the Daily Telegraph on the 18th April 1997 does not classify you as a sceptic, but puts you into the category of people who "support the government's line on Euro negotiations".
Accordingly, you seem to fall into our "don't know" category.  To quote from our web page:

? = Either: (a) has avoided stating a clear position; or (b) will take the Party line regardless of content; or (c) we have no information and are actively seeking it."
Of course, it would greatly please me to reclassify you - and many other people - as sceptics.  But at the moment, I do not have enough information to classify you as anything but a don't know.

If you do have any further evidence regarding your views that we have overlooked, or if you wish to make a statement of your views on such matters as the single currency, corpus juris, a single foreign policy, and so forth, I shall be very happy to make the required correction.  In any event, I will pass notice of correction to all original recipients of the Candidlist, and I will place full details of our correspondence on the Candidlist page with a link from your name.
The purpose of Candidlist is to be accurate, and we have already made a number of corrections.  It is not our purpose to misrepresent the views of the people on our list.  To quote again from our web page:

It is intended that CANDIDLIST will be an ongoing facility and we actively welcome information on candidates either from those who possess relevant information or, indeed, from candidates themselves if they feel that they may have been misrepresented.  Please contact  [mailto:mail@candidlist.demon.co.uk] and we will try to respond promptly.
Bearing this in mind, I am astonished at the menacing tone of your e-mail.  In order to obtain the correction you seek, a simple communication with relevant evidence as to your genuine views would surely have been sufficient.  I wholly reject your claim that I have impliedly accused you  of lying to your constituents and to others.  To misclassify someone as a Europhile or a sceptic, which are both legitimate positions in a fast-moving public debate where people of good will are quite capable of changing their minds several times, cannot give rise to any action for defamation of character.
I do look forward to your response in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Sean Gabb
Candidlist Webmaster

E-mail of the 12th October 1999, 8:37pm,
Ian Bruce MP to Sean Gabb:
Dr Gabb

I am glad that you have started to take advice but you have not taken any action.

You have been told your list is wrong but it is still being published in its original form on the web. You are therefore compounding your libel and are about to loose [sic] any opportunity to plead that my reputation was damaged by you by mistake.

I am getting the feeling this may not be a civil matter for very much longer.

The clock is ticking. ACTION THIS DAY.


Ian Bruce MP

E-mail of the 13th October 1999, 6:36pm,
Ian Bruce MP to Sean Gabb:
Dear Dr Gabb

Thank you for confirming that you have libelled me and have no reason to have told my constituents that I have been lying to them about my views.

You really ought for your own protection ask a lawyer to read your web site and take advice on what I am trying to tell you. The web does not protect you from British libel laws and I am always amazed that people like you who do so much damage to British and Conservative Party interests are so convinced that you are actually are trying to protect the laws you are abusing.

I do not have to justify myself to you and I take the most violent objection to people who profess they support the causes I believe in but by their every action damage those very same causes. The Referendum and UK Independence Party Candidates who ensured that Blair has such a massive majority that he does not have to take his own sceptics into account is the most graphic example of this.

Let me make this easy for you. I have made it clear to my constituents that I will campaign tirelessly to retain the pound and even more that I think those countries who have joined the Euro are both damaging British and European interests. I have regularly spoken at length about the damaging effects of not allowing the flexibility between member countries that flexible exchange rates allow. I have regularly spoken in former Warsaw Pact countries on the same subject telling them that they should know better than having rejected the Rouble and fixed exchange rates that they should believe joining the Euro would be right for them.

In a constituency that was once lost to the Labour Party due two Conservatives (one for Europe the other against) we know just how damaging your sort of approach to these issues are. I tell my Europhiles that the Conservative Party does not have to make meaningless statements on what it might or might not do decades from now as I am confident our stand to save the pound will be vindicated by events.

The case against Federalism is equally overwhelming. We have a fully integrated Agriculture and Fisheries Policy. I hardly need to say more ! William has now broken the mould and stated clearly that we are going to roll Europe back. I believe he is wholly right and indeed that is the only way that Europe can be made to work in everyone's interests.

The institutions of Europe are becoming less and less Democratic and I for one refuse to be put into a position where I have to say to my constituents that neither I nor our Euro MPs can change the law. Once an EU law is made it can in effect not be unmade without unanimity. In other words if a Socialist majority of Governments are able to introduce something after elections that bring a massive majority for the Centre Right we can then not change the law. Rediculous (sic).

However I do have faith and believe that the other countries of Europe will soon find their own citizen's (sic) rebelling and forcing their Governments to join our common sense revolution.

Clearly mistakes have been made in the past and that is why it is imperative that the Conservative Party is seen as united in its purpose to dramatically change Europe and to re-instate the rights of the Nation States. Perhaps you will decide that you will now immediately withdraw your candidlist and write to everyone apologising for your error. By all means provide a list where people can volunteer their opinions and objectively point out where public statements are contradictory.

To suggest that anyone at the last General Election anyone who supported the Conservative Party policy that was designed to paper over the splits must obviously be a Europhile is patent nonsense.

I note the web site has again repeated your libel. The clock is still ticking.

Ian Bruce MP

E-mail dated the 13th October, 11:58pm,
Sean Gabb to Ian Bruce MP:
Dear Mr Bruce,

I have received your e-mail of earlier this evening.

Your statement of Eurosceptic principles is impressively clear and strong, and on the basis of it, I am very pleased to reclassify you from a don't know to a sceptic.  I will make this reclassification on the Candidlist web page before I go to bed tonight, and will inform all original recipients of the Candidlist.

I have already dealt with your claim that Candidlist had somehow libelled you, and I have nothing further to add.  Even so, I must express my disappointment at the threatening tone of your two previous e-mails.  You had only to ask me to reclassify you, and give me even a quarter of the reasons that you have now supplied, and this matter would have been settled on Monday evening.  Your almost hysterical threats of civil and criminal action left me unmoved, except to lower you considerably in my estimation.

I hope this now closes our correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Sean Gabb
Candidlist Webmaster